Hailstorm - Chapter 7
Chapter 7, Second Draft. Like the other chapter, this was originally posted back in October 22, 2003 (though only those -really- searching for it could find it). That was the first draft, though. This second draft consists of several minor and one major change from the original. All the content is the same, but the presentation was changed to accomodate the plot I have in mind for the near future.
Before I continue, there's a few things I really need to tell you. You see, the characters in this story don't belong to me. Yes, that's right, Ranma1/2, its characters, and its story belong to Rumiko Takahashi and several other entities who have claimed rights on it. And SailorMoon? Well, that belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, as well as several other entities. Also, Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku belongs to Yuzo Takada, as well as its other respective owners (publishers, and the like).
I would also like to take this time to mention that this story wouldn't have been possible if not for Dark Phoneix's 'Who's Your Daddy?' DP has kindly allowed me to use parts of the prologue to his story in creating my own prologue. I'd also like to mention Rift120 as well, who created the original idea behind 'Who's Your Daddy?'
I've never really mentioned it before, but (as I'm sure you've caught on to by now) this story will focus mainly on the SailorMoon portion of the crossover, with just a few elements from Ranma. Anything from Nuku Nuku is a direct result of fusing Ranma and Nuku Nuku universes, so there will be even less of them than of Ranma and crew.
Crystal Tokyo - Part II
Unexpected Side Effects
Ami spent the rest of the day simply brooding. After her ordeal with Yui, she had no patience to drag whatever story her mother had been hiding from her. Why did their lives have to become so complicated? Atsuko had obviously had her own share of interesting adventures (how else could she know immediately how that water-based curse works but by coming into direct contact with a cursed individual?). Perhaps Ami had inherited these problems from her foster mother?
The Universe could be incredibly myopic at times.
Her friends found her at one of the various tables in the food court of the mall, sipping a chocolate milkshake and staring blankly at the tabletop. Ami received the surprise of her life when Usagi sneaked up behind her and popped a balloon over her head. She fairly jumped in her seat, then turned wide-eyed at the source of the disturbance, the mischievous girl from the moon, Tsukino Usagi-chan.
"Ami, are you alright?" Usagi asked innocently.
Rei bopped the girl on the head and said, "No, she's not okay, odango! You nearly scared her to death with that stupid balloon you got from the party store."
"Hey! Stop being so mean. You know you wanted one, too!" Usagi replied.
"No, I didn't! It's a waste of money, especially if you're just going to go around popping them all in people's ears!" Rei shot back.
Ami looked behind her at Minako and Makoto, who were snickering at her predicament. She turned back to watch Rei and Usagi continue arguing.
"Ya-ha, I know you wanted to see Ami jump from the balloon, too! You were grinning about it even before I got close to her!"
"You stupid girl, I was reading on our way here. I didn't even know what was going on until you popped the balloon!"
"Ah, Usagi?" Ami asked tentatively.
"You were not, I saw you looking up before I snuck up on her!" Usagi looked annoyed, and Rei incredulous. They stuck their tongues out and blew raspberries at each other, bringing the argument down to lower levels of maturity. Ami tried again to get their attention.
"Usagi!" Ami shouted, though soft enough that it did not carry far in the room.
"Huh? What is it, Ami?" Usagi asked, breaking out of the glare she had given Rei.
"Usagi, where's Chibi-Usa? Isn't she supposed to be with you?"
"Nuh-uh," replied Minako from behind her. "She said to go to the docks at the park when we're ready to leave. Chiba-san, you know, Mamoru, he's supposed to be with her. Hey, are you ready? We were going to go to your house to pick you up, but since you're here, we can just go to the park, and then to the future!"
Makoto had stopped paying attention to them, and Ami heard her say, "He looks like sempai, over there!" during the faint lull in their conversation.
"Oh, this is going to be so much fun! I wonder what's in the future - isn't this just so cool, everyone?" Usagi enthused.
Ami felt her embarrassment rising, and just nodded her head with Minako and Rei.
Kensuke stood in the Tendo-Shitori backyard and practiced a few of the moves he'd seen Ranma use at the tournament. Although not entirely sure on a few of them, Kensuke remembered most of what he'd seen, and much of it he was able to practice without help. For the rest he had turned to Kuonji Ukyo for help, since she claimed to know Ranma, and she'd been teaching him off and on for a few years now. His own mother was a martial artist, but she hadn't trained for so many years now, it would be impractical for him to enlist her help.
"Onii-chan," called the voice of his younger sister. Kensuke continued practicing, knowing that his sister had been told to bring him inside to face whatever ire had stuck their mother.
A brief few moments of silence existed between them, before Kensuke's sister tried again. "Onii-chan, Mama wants to see you inside. It's important."
Kensuke fell out of the repetition and turned to face his sister. "Whatever. Hey, Kimiko, whatever happened to that dumbass who's supposed to be your fiancé? Wasn't he supposed to come and beat me up? Or is he still too busy preserving the family legacy?"
Kimiko frowned. "I don't know. He came over when you left. He said you ran out on him or something. And I don't like him any more than you do!"
Tendo Kimiko's fiancé, the great, wonderful, and astounding Saotome Seiji, was the second child of Saotome Genma and Nodoka. After the legend that was Saotome Ranma, Seiji had much to live up to in the eyes of his contemporaries. Unfortunately, with his rude proclamations and stubborn attitude, neither of Tendo Akane's children, nor many of his peers, ever thought he'd amount to much. Then Grandfather had to spring this engagement on them - what was it for, really?
The honor of the Anything Goes Martial Arts, of course. Saotome Ranma was the greatest practitioner of the school in his generation, and now that he disappeared, the responsibility of furthering the name of Anything Goes rested upon the students and children of Tendo Akane - and their dear friend, Saotome Seiji.
"Fine," Kensuke said, ignoring his sister's declaration. He walked past her and entered the house, heading toward the master bedroom. Upon entering, he saw his mother, Tendo Akane, working on a paper that rested on the desk before her.
"Hey, Mom." Kensuke gave the room a quick glance. His father still hadn't returned from his job at Tokyo U as an IT professor. Horrid as the thought may be, Kensuke had learned two years before that his parents met in Tokyo University, when his mother attended as a freshman. His father had been teaching as a new adjunct professor...
And Kensuke was later born. Kensuke's attention snapped back to reality when he saw his mother looking at him. She didn't look too happy. Probably had something to do with his jaunt to Juban without telling anyone.
"Kensuke, you've been searching for information on Saotome Ranma again, haven't you? Your father and I have told you, many times, don't go looking for trouble, and especially not involving him! There's a whole world of martial artists, and plenty that are just as good and better than he ever was! I don't want you obsessing over him and disappearing on me again!"
Yup, she was angry about his disappearance again Of course it probably had something to do with Kuonji-sensei being the one to have found him and brought him home. If there was anything that angered Kensuke's mother more than comments on her cooking, it was about her past and rivalries against Ranma and the other suitors for his heart. It made for interesting stories, ones that were hard to pull out from his mother, but everything he learned from Kuonji-sensei seemed to be true, if his mother's reactions to hearing said stories were any indication.
Of course, Kuonji-sensei did have a way of exaggerating the truth in her favor.
"Okay, I won't disappear again. It was just a small detour on the way home from visiting Aunt Nabiki."
His mother's mood diminished to a far worse degree of dissatisfaction at hearing the name of her older sister. Natsume Nabiki was not often a welcome subject in the Tendo-Shitori household. Akane's marriage to Shitori Kenji was viewed as a disgrace in the eyes of Tendo Soun, and Nabiki had been named the inheritor of the dojo and its compound. As Kensuke had heard from his teacher, Kuonji-sensei, she and Akane had a little fight not long afterward, causing much damage in the immediate vicinity, and since that time, Akane had not been welcome at the Tendo compound.
"Go to your room, then, and don't come out until it looks decent," snapped his mother as she turned back to face her desk. "There'll be no more practicing for next month's tournament if you can't handle your chores."
"Right, doing it," called Kensuke. He tore out of the room as quickly as possible.
Tendo Nabiki, beautiful, intelligent, and next heir to the empire known as Mishima Heavy Industries, was currently at her desk, deep in thought. She'd just had a very informed visit from her two flunkies and closest friends. Ranma really was living in Juban. It was a clumsy mistake on his part to choose to live so close to Nerima, even after all the time that passed. Did he really think he could escape her detection while living in the center of one of the most chaotic districts in Tokyo?
Maybe it was time she amended the problems that plagued her family. Allowing her problems time to fix themselves hardly did more than prolong the situation, and getting others to do the work for her had proven time and time again to be the wrong way to approach a potentially disastrous problem. She did not want to create any more problems than she currently already knew about.
Her sister wasn't too happy with her and Father, for one. Though it was mostly Akane's own doing, she had lost the dojo to Nabiki when she married that professor she'd seduced at Tokyo U, the same one who had helped Nabiki get her job starting out as a secretary for a well known scientist in Mishima Heavy Industries. Which brought her to the interesting situation with her husband, her son, and that living cat-cyborg guardian of theirs. Could she really consider that cyborg, her long-time rival in earning her family's trust and affection, as part of her own growing family?
The last she had seen of him, her son was doing just fine under his father's care. That was a situation she could probably put off for a little longer. Now, her other situation, the one involving her past lover... That one did not look to be easily resolvable. In fact, by the very information she had been receiving in the past few months, it looked like she may have to finally step in and take responsibility for her actions.
It was time she faced the problems she helped create all those many years ago.
"Sorry about being late," apologized Tuxedo Mask when he reappeared in the mists, Chibi-Usa at his side. "I couldn't find my way through the wind."
The Senshi and their two moon cat advisors discussed the droid attack they had just fended off. Why was there a droid in the tunnel? Were there any more droids ahead of them? What did Chibi-Usa's mother look like?
SailorMercury turned away from the scene to look at the entrance before them. Behind these gates lay their future. What traps lie in wait for them?
"Hey," said SailorJupiter, placing a gloved hand on her shoulder. "You okay, Mercury?"
She looked back at her comrade, dazed from her stupor. "What did you say, Jupiter?"
The Senshi of Jupiter frowned at her response, then said, "We're ready to go through, now. Come on." She turned and walked toward the rest of the group.
SailorMercury followed quickly behind her. With a nod from SailorMoon, Tuxedo Mask stepped forward and pushed open the gates.
All around them were the ruins of a once beautiful city. Crystal shards and building walls lay at dangerous angles, pointing angrily toward the darkening skies. Mists swamped the land, and even nearby structures were hard to make out. Ami estimated the furthest away she could see to about 15 meters in the distance.
Yet, even with the encompassing mists and harsh visibility, one structure still rose proudly in sharp contrast to the surrounding waste. In the distance, a tall building seemingly built entirely of crystal stood shining in the darkness of the sky.
SailorMercury took a few steps away from the group to get a better look at it, when Chibi-Usa broke out in a run for the edifice, her little ball, Luna-P, following after her.
"Chibi-Usa!" shouted SailorMoon, and in moments they were all after her. The other Senshi all shouted to Chibi-Usa to stop, wait, and not to get lost in the fog. SailorMercury followed as quickly as she could, making use of her visor to track the other Senshi and to filter better visibility through the fog.
Suddenly the other Senshi disappeared from her tracker. Rounding the bend she had seen SailorVenus take, SailorMercury came to a slow halt as she realized there were two paths, and she had no idea which to follow. Logically, she assumed they had headed in the direction of the castle, but what may seem the shorter path may actually be a dead end, whereas the other may take the long way around to the castle... or may lead away from it entirely. For some reason, SailorMercury could not shake the feeling that she'd visited this particular area before.
"This is the old site of Juban Junior High School," spoke a voice behind her in explanation. "You used to go to school there, many years ago."
SailorMercury turned, spooked, readying her Senshi powers for a possible attack. She gasped at who she saw. It was... It was Saotome Ranma, her father. How did he get to the future?
The man smiled sadly at her, and his form wavered, allowing her an ethereal view of the landscape behind him.
"Hey, Ami-chan. I didn't expect to see you return so soon. It's only been a few years since you last visited. Things have finally begun to settle down since your latest ordeal in the castle."
He was a ghost, essentially. That's what he appeared to be. SailorMercury watched him approach, awaiting any sudden movements of hostility. Could this be a new type of demon or monster sent to attack her?
"You haven't lived much of a normal life, huh? My fault, probably. There are so many things that could have been done differently. A world of infinite possibilities. But we live in Crystal Tokyo now. I guess it means this is the best possible outcome. At least, that's what I've been told."
Ami stood her ground, watching the apparition before her. He walked straight through a pile of rubble, his body simply flowing through the material in a mellifluous manner.
"Don't you wish you could be normal? You could be rid of all these enchantments and magical changes, and be just another girl. You'd never have to transform again. I can cure you. I can alter your fate."
Ami nodded hesitantly, but otherwise made no other change in her proximity to him. Her earlier wariness ebbed away, as though the very mists they were surrounded by were responsible for its slow dispersal.
The apparition moved closer of it own accord. "All you have to do... Just trust me, Ami." He stood about 70cm (2'4") away from her, and held out his hand. Ami grasped it firmly, perplexed at how solid his hand felt. The apparition grinned. "Even the resolve of the mighty must break someday, ne? "
Ranma briefly pulsed with dark violet light, pushing the light through his arm and into her. Her eyes widened, though only briefly. And then she was falling, falling... Darkness swept over her, and she closed her eyes...
Mizuno Ami walked down Yamano, basking in the afternoon sun. For reasons she could not recall, Ami had left her books behind at an abandoned lot near home. Amazingly enough, she found her books where she had left them. As the day was so beautiful, Ami decided to go to the park for a while. The names escaped her for the moment, but she was supposed to meet some friends there. Maybe they could tell her why she had been feeling strange all day.
Some of her books were fairly technical. Among the regular subjects she and her peers studied in her year, there was an advanced Physics course book that looked to be recycled from one of the local high schools, and a Literature book that was completely in English (she could understand that much, but actually reading the book would be a daunting task, and not one she felt she was up to). It begged the question as to why she had borrowed the books in the first place.
Another curiosity was the presence of Ryoga's bandana among her books. Why on earth would she have one of Hibiki-sensei's bandanas? She certainly hadn't been training in the Cloth duplication trick, and the little trick with his razor sharp bandanas were easy to duplicate. So why did she have it?
Really, the matter wasn't important enough to merit much thought. Hibiki-sensei wouldn't care much about the missing bandana, and it would make a good enough weapon on its own if she ran into another one of those monsters that were now plaguing Juban. What were they called, youma? They were usually only defeated by the Sailor Senshi, anyway.
Rounding the corner of Yamano and Kuriko, Ami could see a formidable onyx crystal forming clearly in the distance. It rose high above the surrounding buildings and structures, and the sunlight seemed to reflect shadows off of its edges. It was a lovely sight to behold, if a bit dreary in presentation.
After walking a distance further toward the giant crystal, the young girl came across her intended destination. There, in the park, was a monster which repulsed her at first sight. It was humanoid and female in shape, but the body was made up of a murky, indistinguishable membrane. Instantly her thoughts of investigating the giant crystal vanished. Ami placed her books on a bench alongside the park's edge as she watched the monster before her. Its looks were formidable, but youma rarely put up a fight worth mentioning beyond their supernatural endurance and stubborn refusal to retreat.
"Here I come," Ami whispered to herself as she dashed in to fight the youma.
AN: Interesting outcome isn't it? I'm not so sure how the rest of the story will be handled just yet. It's coming together though. I've got several ideas in the work for chapter 8, though I haven't planned out what I'll write for 9 yet. So what just happened? It should be explained in 8.